Bill Hancock details committee plan

ROSEMONT, Ill. -- The selection committee for the upcoming College Football Playoff is expected to be finalized by the end of the 2013 season, and possibly before the regular season concludes in early December.

BCS/College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock said invitations to some prospective members have been made, although discussions are ongoing and additional vetting of candidates must be done. The committee will consist of 12-18 members, most likely "on the lower end," Hancock said, and will determine the four teams for the first playoff, which will take place after the 2014 season.

"We are making calls to prospective members to gauge their interest," Hancock said during the conference commissioners' meeting at Big Ten headquarters. "And those are going very well. We have invited some people to participate. The response has been remarkable. A hundred percent has been excited to get the call, honored to get the call and wants to give something back to the game."

Several prospective candidates have declined because of conflicts, and not a lack of desire to serve. The committee members will be either sitting major conference athletic directors or former players, coaches, administrators or media members.

Hancock said the committee will meet six to 10 times a year for two or three days at a time. Several meetings will take place during the season, and the committee will release rankings, most likely between three and five times.

"Generally, it would be if today were Selection Sunday, this is our top 15, top 20, top 25, however many it is," Hancock said. "There will be no computer standings involved. The committee will make the decision, just like NCAA basketball."

The NCAA men's basketball tournament selection committee will be the model for the football group. Hancock noted that five conference commissioners -- Mike Slive (SEC), Jim Delany (Big Ten), Bob Bowlsby (Big 12), Craig Thompson (Mountain West) and Karl Benson (Sun Belt) -- have served on the basketball committee.

"I don't think we're that far away [from finishing the committee], but you have to make sure that they're totally in and we're totally comfortable," Delany said. "... They're going to be scrutinized. We've got to be ultimately careful and do every bit of due diligence. You see coaches or athletic directors or commissioners get hired, and then you find out they didn't go to the college they said they went to."

Delany said many of the candidates submitted by the conferences overlapped, and that there shouldn't be many surprises on the final list.

"Some names appeared on maybe three or four of the 10 conference attributions and some were higher, some were lower," Delany said. "It's like picking the basketball tournament. You go through that, you're going to get 32 out of the 34 [at-large spots]. I would bet you that if the overlap, if you really worked at it and looked at it, you could get 85 percent of the overlap.

"Where it is now, I'm very proud that we'll be able to meet the very high expectations that people will have. It'll be very balanced, it will be very strong football people, it will be other people with great integrity."

Slive, Delany, Bowlsby and Thompson have chaired the committee.

"Don't get me wrong, it will not be identical to basketball," Hancock said, "but why completely reinvent the wheel?"

Bowlsby said he submitted 40-50 names for the committee and four or five made the final list, adding that many leagues submitted the same candidates.

Bowlsby said part of committee is set, but several offers remain out to potential candidates.

The broad criteria for selection are set -- head-to-head matchups, common opponents, conference championships -- but the specific guidelines still have to be determined, Hancock said. Committee members will have "every bit of data on every team" at their disposal.

Hancock declined to give specifics on the vetting process for candidates but emphasized its importance.

"We need to know about all these people," he said. "We know them, you know them, but we need to know everything we can about them. We don't want to make any mistakes, and we won't. These are all people of high integrity. That was a starting point for this."

Hancock and the conference commissioners next meet Nov. 11 in Washington, D.C.